Drizzled with chocolate and packed with fruit, this is my lightest, ultra-moist carrot cake — a carrot cake with attitude. For the best results only grate the carrots when ready to use and do mix them with lemon juice, or they are inclined to go brown.
Serves: 10 people generously
Preparation: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes soaking time
Cooking: Approximately 1 hour
50 g dried crystallised tropical fruit
50g chopped stoned dates
Juice of ½ orange
Zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tbsp juice
150g spelt flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 heaped tsp mixed spice
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
100g ground almonds
350g soft brown sugar
3 large free-range eggs
1 tbsp golden syrup
350ml vegetable oil
400g carrots, finely grated
150g dark chocolate
Fresh fruit in season
Grease and flour either a 23-24 cm bundt tin or springform tin.
Heat the oven to 170°C.
In a small bowl soak the dried fruit with the juices and zest and set aside for at least ½ hour.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices in a large bowl.
Add the ground almonds.
In another large bowl sieve the sugar to get rid of any lumps.
Add the eggs, oil, golden syrup, and dried fruit mixture to the sugar.
Add the carrots to the lemon juice/dried fruit mixture.
Now combine the flour with the fruit/carrot mixture making sure there are no lumps underneath. l Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour or longer until the top is firm and golden. Do not be tempted to look before 45 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly in the tin. Then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
To serve: melt the dark chocolate and drizzle or pour it over the cake letting it run down the sides.
Decorate with the fresh fruit.
Ruth Joseph is co-author of Warm Bagels and Apple Strudel, Kyle Books, £25